Meal moth (Pyralis farinalis) is a small, broad-winged, triangular moth. It is cosmopolitan, occurring around the world, but is most common in Europe and the United States. It is found anywhere grain is processed or stored, including warehouses, barns, and most home pantries. It is not the only moth common to home pantries, nor is it the most common. That distinction belongs to Indian meal moth. Other common pantry moths are Mediterranean flour moth, brown house moth, and white shouldered house moth.
Meal moth larva feed on cereals (plants in the grass family), grains (edible seeds of cereals), and vegetables, including potatoes. Adults do not feed and are short-lived. They mate as soon as possible after emerging, then die after nine or ten days. They rest with their wings spread wide, their abdomen raised at a right angle to the body, and their antennae folded back over the body.
Grimmia dry rock moss (Grimmia laevigata) is a common and widespread tuft-forming moss. It occurs on all continents except Antarctica. It is mostly restricted to the moderate climate areas of the northern and southern hemispheres. It is less common in Minnesota where it reaches the northern extent of its range. In this state it is found in open areas on rock outcrops. It grows under full sun on exposed acidic rock or on thin soil over rock.
Grimmia dry rock moss is extraordinarily drought resistant. Dried herbarium specimens that have been rehydrated after ten years have resumed photosynthetic and metabolic activity. It has adapted to a broad range of environments, yet it shows very little variability throughout its range. Bryologists suggest that a single species cannot be so adaptive, and that Grimmia laevigata must consist of a group of apparently indistinguishable but genetically distinct species.
Grimmia dry rock moss appears as a dense, hoary, dark green to dark brown tuft. The leaves have a long, thin, translucent, hair-like awn at the tip that constitutes almost half the total length of the blade. Spore-producing reproductive structures are rarely produced, and apparently are not produced anywhere in our area.
Brickwork woodlouse (Porcellio spinicornis) is a large, exotic woodlouse. It is native to Europe, where it is widespread and common. It was introduced into North America, where it now occurs across southern Canada and in the United States from Maine to New Jersey, west to North Dakota and South Dakota. It is not uncommon in Minnesota.
Brickwork woodlouse favors dry areas with limey (calcareous) surfaces. It is found in limestone quarries, on limestone pavement, in loosely mortared walls, and often in human houses. It is active at night, when it can be found on the surface. During the day it remains concealed, often under a rock or log.
Brickwork woodlouse is yellowish with dark brown to almost black mottling, and a dark brown to almost black stripe in the middle bordered on each side by bright yellow markings. One imaginative describer likened the pattern to brickwork, and this is the source of this species’ common name.